The Government of Guyana and the Guyana Public Service Union will today begin negotiations
concerning wages and salaries for 2016. This was disclosed yesterday at a press conference hosted by the GPSU President Patrick Yarde and members of the union’s executive.
In February 2015, President David Granger had informed the public that negotiations with trade unions would begin after the completion of the Commission of Inquiry into the Public Service. The Commissioners of that Inquiry were Professor Harold Lutchman, Sandra Jones and Samuel Goolsarran.
The COI had begun in September 2015 and was finally presented in May 2016, and as such, the Government has indicated its readiness to commence negotiations.
Yarde noted that the executive of the union has serious concerns regarding the omission of allowances in the letter of invitation sent to them by Minister of State Joseph Harmon. A response was sent querying the issue, but no explanation had been provided.
In light of this omission, the GPSU President has informed the Government that the Union wants immediate action taken regarding the negotiation of allowances.
Yarde said that the Union is aware of an allocation within the 2016 budget under the heading “Other Employment Costs” to the tune of six billion dollars. He noted “…that is the head from which it has been up to last year that the funds were accessed to deal with increases in wages and salaries.”
According to Yarde, the union had initially sought a 40% increase in salaries when they met with the Minister of Finance Winston Jordan before his budget presentation last year. Additionally the union in its recommendations had asked for the introduction of increments.
He noted that within the public service, increments were not being received for quite some time. Yarde stated “…for years people were employed with the same salary, 10 years ago and one year ago, the same salary.” This was the situation despite there being a minimum and maximum value for wages and salaries.
Yarde stated that public servants were entitled to increments within the bands based on their performance. He described it as being a contentious issue since 1999 when there was a strike. The Armstrong Tribunal which came out of that industrial action had also suggested salary increments.
Despite the suggestions made by the tribunal, Yarde commented that the PPP/C government at the time did not implement increments in light of the Armstrong decision which was intended to be binding. This matter will feature in the negotiations which begin today at the Ministry of the Presidency.
The Government has informed the union that its negotiation team will be led by Reginald Brotherson, Permanent Secretary of the Department of Public Service within the Ministry of the Presidency. The GPSU’s negotiation team will be led by its President and will include first Vice President Mortimer Livan and General Secretary Kemton Alexander and other members of the union.
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